Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eyewitness Testimony about Chicago Politics

It's not our custom to be a reblogging blog around here.

But Caroline Glick sounds like a righteous dude. Offered for America's consideration, word up.

It's the Leftism, Stupid

Barack Obama is getting high praise from the MSNBC/NYT types for having the "courage" to tell America that there are a lot of chronically hissed-off black folks.

Duh. White folks know all about it; they buy more rap records than blacks, and if they didn't read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, they caught a few minutes of the movie on cable.

But it's wrong to read Rev. Jeremiah Wright's jeremiads as racism against whites, his church as "black separatist," or his anger as a uniquely black phenomenon. Rev. Wright mostly rails against the adolescent Hollywood image of the bad guy: rich white men, the common enemy of all mankind, what Peter Sinfield called "gargoyles chewing on dead cigars." There are white faces at the Trinity Church services nodding in agreement along with the black ones---the tirades against the gargoyles are hardly different than what you'd hear from a caucasian/minority-wannabe like Ward Churchill, at any Young Democrat chapter meeting, or at most lunch tables on the Harvard campus. You don't have to be black for your politics to be jejune and angry, you just have to be a member of the left.

And there's the rub with Sen. Obama---little of this has to do with race, and little of the upset on the part of conservatives, and most importantly, the independents he must court. It was Obama who made the focus of his speech race and racism, in a clever 3-Card Monte. The problem with Rev. Wright isn't that he's black and angry, it's that he's wack.

Look, in a two-party system, you can hardly expect the other guy to boot out all his strange bedfellows, because if you do, your bed gets pretty empty in a hurry. Lord knows the GOP doesn't discourage the snakehandling vote. For Obama to accept support from the black left, indeed the left as a whole, is as American as, well, declining to wear an American flag pin.

But when you climb into the strange bedfellow's bed all on your own instead of the other way around, that's when it's worrisome, and that's what Sen. Obama did by joining Rev. Wright's church two decades ago. If he truly disagrees with Rev. Wright's stance on most things, then he evidently cannot tell the difference between the duties to principle, the reality of two-party politics and mere cynical opportunism.

Either way, most Americans don't want a wack leftist for president, or an opportunist either. Senator Obama has done little to prove he's not one or both.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Plays the Otter Card

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmation action, that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap," he said. "On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation, that rightly offend white and black alike...

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother -- a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street....These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.---Barack Obama, Philadelphia '08

Masterful. In times of crisis, consult the repository of all human wisdom, the classics.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules or took a few liberties with our female guests. We did.

But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general?

I put it to you, Greg, isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you bad-mouth the United States of America! Gentlemen!---Eric Stratton, Faber '63

Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama: Between His Black Rock of Ages and a Very Hard Place

Tomorrow, Barack Obama is going to Philly to give the speech of his life to save his candidacy.

Now, it might be that Obama can survive the superdelegate game and still win the Democrat nomination. But in this Feiler Faster 24/7 newsuniverse, his 20 years as a member of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's congregation have hit the fan.

With the pivotal Pennsylvania primary another 5 weeks away, Obama is already looking at a substantial defeat. One poll had him down to the lovely and talented Hillary Rodham Clinton 55-36, and that was before the nation started learning about Rev. Wright's jeremiads against "white" America: "White greed" makes the needy world suffer. 9-11 was a justifiable payback. The white US government used AIDS as a weapon against the browner people on Earth, to kill them off just on general principles.

Dude's wack, the black equivalent of a Kennedy assassination theorist, a UFO believer, an anti-fluoridation activist, and a guy who sends Elvis a card every year on his birthday.

Sen. Obama, who's had his path to the presidency strewn with garlands and rose petals, has to negotiate his way around the biggest turd in recent electoral memory.

As Mickey Kaus, a leading proponent of the Feiler Faster Theory asks, what if Obama loses Pennsylvania by 20 points? Who knows? It could be worse than that. Rasmussen, admittedly an outlier, shows some ominous numbers: since Rev. Wright hit the sleepy consciousness of national fan, Sen. Obama's national negative rating has leapt to 50%, and 54% among white voters.

Now, the actual fact is likely that the young and politically ambitious Barack Obama found a power center in Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, and you go to church where the votes and kingmakers are. Who's listening, anyway? Just shake some hands afterward, cut a lunch date with a potential contributor, throw a few smiles to the crowd and get home by noon for the Bears game.

Now, the sentiments on the left [and the Obama campaign] are that talk can solve everything, whether with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the American electorate. Barack Obama gets his chance to talk. I suppose he'll say he disagrees with "some" of Rev. Wright's rantings.

But although I expect some world-class eloquence tomorrow that'll satisfy some, I suspect there is a critical mass of voters who will not elect him president until and unless he tells us which one rantings he does disagree with.

And if and when he does, he'll lose some of his strongest supporters.

Because, as it turns out, not all talk can be talked away with more talk. It's gotta be this or that, quoth The Duke. There are fundamental disagreements in the American polity, and although George Washington was elected by unanimous vote, it has not happened since, nor will anyone ever be again.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rev. Wright...

So how to think about the quite estimable Rev. Wright, the now not-so-close adviser to Sen. Obama? Well, take two poles out of play: I doubt it's the case that Obama shares many of Rev. Wright's particular views (e.g. that AIDS was brought on by "Whitey" to get the black man) but neither do I think that he's entirely immaterial to our evaluation of Obama. Very few of us churchgoers agree entirely with our pastors and sometimes we may even stay at churches where the pastor makes us grind our teeth on a weekly basis. But being a part of a church that's so powerfully centered around the personality of a particular pastor for *20 years* has to suggest that Obama at the very least didn't feel all *that* uncomfortable with Wright (and here I'm assuming that he's basically lying when he says that he wasn't aware of Wright's controversial statements - even if he didn't know anything about those particular statements, it beggars the imagination to suppose that Wright hadn't said similar things in his presence) and, what's more, he felt comfortable enough about the church that had his two daughters there and continued to tithe pretty well. That Obama didn't suppose that Wright would be a problem for him and his campaign also speaks a great deal to Obama's real blindness about Wright - and how extreme his statements sound to most Americans. And that's the real problem here: to the degree that Obama continued to play up his association with his church and Rev. Wright, it at the very least shows that he thinks Wright's noxious statements are not outside the pale, regardless of whatever damage control he's begun. It's not unlike Edwards' willingness to nod and look thoughtful when the 9/11 "Truthers" would go on about the government's complicity with terrorist attacks. (Note that Bill Clinton, in contrast, has been pretty forceful in slapping down the wackadoos...). Neither really believes that crap, but their willingness to allow it into the national conversation is troubling, to say the least.